Crisis In Auto, Crisis For Us All
Auto has long been America's most important industry, the main engine of the world's richest economy. Industry unions were the historic pace setters for wages and benefits that once gave credibility to the "American Dream" of a blue collar middle-class.
Today all this is up for grabs. Delphi is in bankruptcy and many think General Motors is headed down the same road. The United Auto Workers (UAW) first gave GM billions of dollars in health care concessions—and then passed along a similar deal to Ford and Daimler-Chrysler. Now GM has an agreement with the UAW to offer buy-outs in an effort to permanently eliminate tens of thousands of UAW jobs—and that pattern will likely be carried over to the rest of the industry too.
Auto union membership, long in decline in both absolute numbers and industry "density," is now in a free fall.
Ultimately all North American workers are impacted by the crisis in auto. This is a time for the widest solidarity with and among embattled workers in all industries. This is a time for a wide ranging discussion of principles, strategy, and tactics. This is a time for action.
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